How to apply to work at Council - our application process

Toowoomba Regional Council office staff

This information will help you understand our recruitment process, and the stages that are involved to select our great staff members. We hope that this will let you know what to expect from us and what we'll expect from you. Generally, our hiring process will include the following steps:

  1. Submit application
  2. Candidate assessment
  3. Formal interview
  4. Pre-employment checks
  5. Offer 
  6. Feedback

More details about each stage is provided in the blue headings below.

For further information, please email us or phone 131 872.

Selection for positions are based on merit.

The position descriptions at Toowoomba Regional Council contain “success criteria” that you must address as part of your job application. Success criteria refers to a set of criteria which outline the critical requirements that a potential candidate will require in order to be successful in a particular position. 

How applications are assessed

At Council, the selection panel is required to assess each application on merit in terms of how well it meets the success criteria. Ensure you highlight how your qualifications, skills, knowledge, abilities and experience meet each of the specific success criteria.

With each position at Council, one of the success criteria will contain a standard statement relating to one of Council’s organisational values and behaviours. You will need to ensure you address this success criteria as part of your application. The standard statement is 'Understanding of and commitment to Council’s organisational value and behaviours, i.e. integrity'. To help you address this criteria, view our organisational values and behaviours graphic below (click on the image to enlarge) or open the TRC Organisational Values and Behaviours.

TRC organisational values and behaviours small graphic

Each advert will detail how many pages you will be allowed to use in a document to address the success criteria.

Receipt of your application will be acknowledged by email to your elected email address.

If your application is not successful at shortlisting, you will be notified via email.

You may undergo a form candidate assessment before and/or after a formal interview. This assessment could be online or face-to-face and involve psychometric testing (cognitive, behavioural and safety ability tests) and/or competency assessments (work sampling, ability tests, etc).

If you are invited to complete any psychometric testing, we recommend that you practice the tests before completing them. To practice psychometric testing, visit the Testgrid website

During your interview you will be asked a number of questions by a panel of approximately 2 – 3 interviewers to determine your capability for performing in the position. You will be asked a series of questions regarding your knowledge, experience and behaviours. We perform a structured behavioural interview for all position interviews. This structure ensures that each applicant is asked the same questions and is assessed fairly and consistently.

Linking success criteria with the interview questions

Each position has a position description with a set success criteria. Generally there are between 3 – 6 points in a success criteria for each position. These success criteria outline the critical requirements you will need to possess in order to be successful in the position. This includes the mandatory qualifications, licences, experience, knowledge, skills, abilities and attributes.

Be prepared to be asked at least one interview question relating to each of the individual success criteria. There will also be one standard success criteria and subsequent interview question assessing your personal-organisational fit. This is the degree to which your values match those of the organisation. A list of the organisational values and behaviours are shown below.

Council vision pyramid

How to approach a behavioural interview

This behavioural interview technique is specifically aimed at identifying your behaviours which support the success criteria in the role. Behavioural interviewing is based on the premise that if a person has demonstrated the behaviours of interest in the past, then the same behaviours are likely to be demonstrated in the future. The technique therefore focuses on exploring a person’s past experiences in demonstrating behaviours that support the capability level of interest in a future role.

This interview technique is to give you, the applicant, the opportunity to demonstrate to the interview panel your capability in the role.

The behavioural interview questions will ask about how you have performed in a particular situation and with what result. This is often referred to as the STAR methodology. The STAR method is a structured manner of responding to a behavioural interview question by discussing the specific Situation, Task, Action, and Result (STAR) of the situation you are describing. The STAR method asks you to address:

  • Situation: Describe the situation/environment you were in.
  • Task: What did you need to accomplish to deal with the situation? What was your role concerning the problem, issue or assignment?
  • Action: What did you do? Why did you do it? What were the alternatives?
  • Results: What was the outcome of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives? What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since?

A complete STAR lets the interviewer know that they have gained an example which has enough information to begin to assess whether you have the required skills as outlined in the Success Criteria.

Example interview question and response 1

If one of the position’s success criteria is ‘Aptitude for providing excellent customer service to internal and external stakeholders’; then you should expect to have a question surrounding customer service. As an example your interview question might be:

  • Describe a situation where you had to deal with a difficult customer? How did you handle the situation?

Using the STAR method an example response may be:

S - Situation

Question: Describe the situation/environment you were in?

Example response: In my previous position I had a situation where a customer was not happy with the bill they had received.

T - Task

Question: What did you need to accomplish to deal with the situation? What was your role concerning the problem, issue or assignment?

Example response: I was working on the service desk at the time and received the phone call from the difficult customer.

A - Action

Question: What did you do? Why did you do it? What were the alternatives?

Example response: I listened to the customers concern and reassured the customer that I would look into the invoicing issue straight away in order to get it resolved. This reassurance seemed to calm the customer. As the customer was originally irate, rather than calling them back I put the customer on hold where I then called and briefed the correct person to assist them on the situation. I went back to the customer and explained who was going to assist them and transferred the call through to this correct person.

R-Result

Question: What was the outcome of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives? What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since?

Example response: Later that day I called the person who assisted the customer to check that they were able to resolve the customers invoicing issue. This person advised that the matter was finalised and that an amended invoice had since been issued to the customer. In the end this resolution was positive for the customer and I believe that my reassurance and prompt actions aided the situation and customer’s experience.

Example interview question and response 2

As an example, if one of the position’s success criteria is ‘Demonstrated commitment to maintaining a safe workplace’; then you should expect to have a question surrounding safety. As an example your interview question might be:

  • Describe a time where you encountered an unsafe work situation? What did you do?

Using the STAR method an example response may be:

S-Situation

Question: Describe the situation/environment you were in? 

Example response: In my previous position I had a situation where a backhoe operator was digging a trench and I noticed that there were other workers standing close behind where he was operating and were not wearing the appropriate PPE.

T-Task

Question: What did you need to accomplish to deal with the situation? What was your role concerning the problem, issue or assignment?

Example response: I witnessed this unsafe situation and realised that I had the responsibility to act promptly due to safety reasons.

A-Action

Question: What did you do? Why did you do it? What were the alternatives?

Example response: I stopped the backhoe operator immediately and requested that the nearby co-workers move away from the area and confirmed with them our requirement to wear the necessary PPE.

R-Result

Question: What was the outcome of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives? What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since?

Example response: All workers thanked me for bringing this safety issue to their attention. They moved away from the area and put on the necessary PPE. The backhoe operator then re-commenced and the job was completed safety.

Preparing for the interview

Preparation is the first essential step towards a successful interview. Here are some hints and tips to help you be prepared:

  1. You will be doing most of the talking while the interviewers write throughout the interview to ensure they accurately capture what you are saying.
  2. Before attending your interview, refresh your memory on the position description and prepare at least one example per success criteria using the STAR methodology.
  3. Interviewers will constantly pursue and ask about what you have done so when you are speaking, talk about your contributions. This is the time to provide examples from the STAR method.
  4. If you are not an internal candidate, do some research on the internet or other media to learn more about Toowoomba Regional Council.
  5. Dress smart (or slightly smarter) than the dress requirements of the role.
  6. Be on time, or even 5 – 10 minutes early. So make sure you know where you need to go and take into consideration parking and traffic conditions especially if you will be attending the interview at one of our depots or in a location you are unaware of.
  7. If you have been asked to provide original or JP certified copies of working rights, mandatory licences, tickets or qualifications, be sure to bring these along to the interview.
  8. Think about the questions you would like to ask the interview panel. There will be time allocated at the end of the interview where you can ask questions. Remember if you don’t have a question then that’s okay too.
  9. It’s okay to ask the interview panel what the next stage in the selection process is once the interview is over.
  10. Thank the interviewers for their time and for considering you as an applicant.

These interview hints can also be viewed in the Candidate interview preparation guide (PDF).

This stage can include checks such as a fit for purpose pre-employment medical assessment, and reference checks with your most recent employers. This stage can include various other checks dependant on the position including a criminal history check, working with children check, and checking your rights to work in Australia.

If you are the successful applicant for the position, you will be notified by phone as soon as possible after the decision is made. The verbal offer, detailing the terms and conditions of your employment, will then be confirmed in writing via a formal contract.

Upon your request, the panel can provide feedback on your application.

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